The World Health Organization (WHO) announced Sunday the end of the most recent Ebola outbreak in Democratic Republic of Congo.
The declaration comes following two consecutive 21-day incubation cycles in which the last confirmed Ebola patient has tested negative twice, for a total of 42 days. The Bas-Uélé province in the far northeast region of the DR Congo where the outbreak occurred will remain under continued surveillance.
All of the cases occurred in the Likati region of the province, which sits at the border with the Central African Republic and not far from South Sudan. The DR Congo Ministry of Health notified WHO of the suspected outbreak on May 11, 2017.
All told, there were four deaths from the virus and four people who tested positive but survived the outbreak. A total of 583 contacts were registered and closely monitored, but no known contacts developed signs or symptoms of Ebola virus infection, WHO said in its statement.
More than 50 experts supported the emergency response, with organizations including the new Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention. The European Union, United States, China, UK and Japan also were among those providing assistance.
“I urge that we now focus all our efforts on strengthening the health system in Bas- Uélé province, which has been stressed by the outbreak,” said Dr. Oly Ilunga Kalenga, the Congolese health minister. “Without strengthening the health system, effective surveillance is not possible.”